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Example research essay topic: Nurture Debate Cultural Relativism - 2,131 words

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... may protect the participants from moral and physical abuse, especially when it concerns the political issues in non-democratic countries. Ethical issues may also evolve in the process of achievement of specific results of social research (for example, when the customer expects to achieve a specific predetermined outcome), some limitations in conducting social research (for example, by influencing the researcher (e. g. financing, etc) ), the issues of correlation between price and quality, to mention a few.

Anyway, the researcher should undertake all efforts to be objective to provide the highest possible quality of the social research. Specifically define the concept of a Norm. Discuss in detail the concepts of Folkways and Mores. Also discuss the concepts of Ideal and Real Norms. Use personal examples for each concept to help support your essay. The concept of social norms and social groups is very important, as it lays in the basis of the sociology of culture.

Society is a conglomerate of groups. Every group strives to retain its integrity and unity. It can be achieved through social norms (specific sets of rules and regulations developed by social groups). Norms can be defined as a set of rules and specific expectations by which the society manages and controls the behavior of its members.

Social norms determine what and in what way the individuals can do in different situations. There is a classification of social norms. Folkways relate to norms that can be violated by the group members, because violation of these norms imposes no threat to the groups integrity. So, folkways usually refer to society's customs and traditions for routine interaction. Folkways can be related to the rules the individuals obey to for the sake of propriety (for example, the rule that implies an individual to use a fork and knife during his/ her meals).

Folkways can be different in different cultures and nations. Mores comprise of stricter social rules, as they relate to society's standards of proper moral way of behavior. Therefore, in case the person violates mores, the group usually takes strict (or even disciplinary) measures and sanctions (including expulsion from the society). These rules constitute group moral or morality.

For example, they can include the demand to have respect for elder people, to help relatives, etc. Mores help the individual to do something right and to avoid doing wrong acts. The real and ideal norms and culture values describe no actual way of conduct but refer to how the individuals consider and believe the members of a specific culture should behave. From here it follows that it is important to make a difference between the real culture (actual social patterns of behavior that are close to cultural expectations) and ideal norms (social patterns that are mandated by cultural norms and values). Discuss the Symbolic Nature of Culture and Language and Culture. (Don't forget to include the concepts of Cultural Relativism, Cultural Selectivity, and the Sapir-Wharf Hypothesis. ) Make sure you use examples to help expand on your concepts. Language is one of the elements of culture.

It can be examines as specifically defined system of signs. There are language and non-language signs. In its turn, there are natural and artificial languages. The person (as a member of society) creates and develops languages.

Symbolic meaning of the language and its components are created through social experience and diverse interactions between the individual and the environment. Culture has several functions (communicative, regulative and integrative). The attempts to understand the meaning and significance of the events from another culture often occur in compliance with the standards and rules of the individuals own culture. In the individuals conscience cultural values that belong to his own culture are examined as the best cultural values.

This approach is natural, if not taking into account that fact that the same events in different cultures can have different meaning. In its turn, it means that culture cannot be classified according to some sort of absolute criteria. The culture of every nation is relative; therefore it can be evaluated within its limits alone. This methodological approach is known as cultural relativism. Cultural relativism implies the acknowledgment of individuality and independence of every culture. Cultural selectivity differs from cultural relativism, as cultural selectivity implies selective relation concerning the ability to transfer cultural values from one culture to the other.

For example, Cultural selectivity can be conscious or even spontaneous (the one that occurs under the influence of objective conditions). Sapir-Who hypothesis is the hypothesis of linguistic relativity. According to it, the structure of language determines way of thinking and way the individual cognizes reality. It implies that people, who speak different languages, think differently and perceive world differently.

In particular, their relation to such fundamental categories like space and time mainly depends on the individuals native language. From here it follows that the main features of European culture (for example) and the most important achievements of European science (for example, the world outlook reflected in Newtons mechanics) derive from the language characteristics of European languages. Define and discuss in detail the 3 Mechanisms of Cultural Change. How do they work and what is their relationship together? Give examples on how each mechanism works.

Cultural changes imply any kind of transformations in culture (including dynamic changes along with the changes deprived of any dynamics). Cultural changes may lead to enrichment and differentiation of culture. At the same time, some cultural changes may lead to weakening of cultural differentiation, simplification of cultural life, and anemia that may be examined as decline and degradation leading to cultural crisis. The main mechanisms of cultural change are contact between societies, forces at work within a certain society, and changes in the natural environment. For example, diffusion implies moving one component of culture to another (for example, traditional American fast food was unusual and even exotic when it was brought to Asian countries). Cultural diffusion explains the development of cultures and cultural changes not by the nations independent evolution, but primarily by the borrowing of cultural achievement of other cultures and national.

Acculturation refers to replacement of components or traits of one culture by the traits from the other one. For example, native tribes underwent the process of acculturation during colonization. Therefore, acculturation is the totality of events that occur when the group of individuals, who belong to different cultures, enter the permanent direct contact (interaction) leading to changes in primary cultural patterns of either one or both cultural groups. Next, cultural invention refers to some sort of innovation in culture.

It can be explained as invention or development of new ideas, images, models, of ways of conduct. For example, creative (or famous) people (e. g. scientists, prophets, geniuses, etc. ), groups, foreigners may be the bearers of new ideas. Discuss in detail the relationship of socialization to the "Nature vs. Nurture Debate." Make sure you include how concepts of Pavlov's and Watson's Classical Conditioning Studies, Extreme Childhood Deprivation, and the need for social attachments are used in this debate.

According to the "Nature vs. Nurture Debate" people have relation both to the world of nature (by virtue of their body) and the world of culture (by virtue of their language). The precise correlation between biological and cultural origins of human society was a subject of heated debates. There are two extreme viewpoints existing within the frameworks of Nature vs. Nurture Debate. These viewpoints have different explanations concerning the conscience, process of thinking and making decisions, and behavioral patterns of people.

Watson (the father of behaviorism) was convinced that nurture plays a crucial role in the persons development. He was influenced by Pavlov's theory of classical conditioning, and considered that behavior is the result of nurture (learned behavior, acquired behavior, and environment). It means that learning, for example, is a permanent change that occurs due to experience (nurture). Besides, there is an assumption that some behavioral changes may result from (or relate to) extreme childhood deprivation and need for social attachments. According to the first viewpoint, genetic approach explains the traits and behavioral patterns of individuals, social groups, and nations solely by the viewpoint of genetic characteristics inheritance (heredity). Second point of view (cultural determinism and anti-naturalism (anti-nativism) ) explain individual differences and national character of specific cultures referring to the process of socialization.

Nativism is the theory according to which specific models of reality perception and ways of conduct are inherited by the person (genetic inheritance) and cannot be acquired during the process of socialization. Define and discuss in detail Cooley's "Looking Glass Theory" in detail. Make sure you discuss the 3 steps involved in the process. Use some personal examples to show how Cooley's theory works.

According to Cooley, society is the process of permanent changes. Secondly, social changes are rooted in changes of individual and social conscience and are reflected in collective behavioral patterns. All the components of social organism (groups, individuals, organizations, etc) correlate and interact with each other according to some specific principles. Cooley considered that social occurs only under the condition of communication and interaction. With these general principles in mind, he developed Looking Glass Theory. Cooley also dwells on imagination of imaginations (the fact that the very perception of a certain subject depends on the way it is perceived by others).

To put it differently, social nature of the individual may be determined by his functioning in social environment. This theory is called looking-glass self. According to Cooley, the individual looks at the mirror (the mirror symbolizes other individuals, their opinions, behaviors, responses, etc). The individual is unconsciously oriented to these mirror reflections, and starts adjusting himself in compliance with these reflections. There are three stages of looking-glass self: The individual constructs his own image in his imagination. The individual plans his appearance; he tries to realize how he looks as viewed from other people.

He develops his own image. It specifically relates to so-called significant others (the people, whose opinion is very important, for example, the parents for their child). Interpretation of reactions and responses of other people. The individual analyzes how these others react on him and wants to understand whether the subjective self-perception coincides with the way the others perceive him.

Finally, the individual constitutes his own image (self-concept). He builds his own image by means of combining primary motivation with the responses of others. By doing this, the individual shapes the image that determined his social way of conduct. Define and discuss in detail Mead's " 3 Stages in the Development of Self." Use personal examples of each of Mead's 3 stages to help further define them.

George Herbert Mead examined the development of self. In his studies he examined the relation of self-concept to role-taking. The initial point of Meads philosophy is the concept of act that determines specifics of perception of the objective reality by the individual (social self) (Luckman 28). This theory places high emphasis on social experience.

Mead distinguished three main stages in the development of self: Preparatory stage. During this stage the children mostly imitate people around them. Play stage. During this period children learn how to use language and other symbols in order to acquire necessary knowledge and skills that will allow them successfully pretend to imitate roles of the other people. Game stage. During this stage children begin understanding both their social position and position of the other people.

Now children are able to develop a generalized other, and understand the expectations and demands of society. Define and discuss Freud's " 3 Parts of Self." Since Freud was a psychologist why do we even mention in a sociology class (it has to do with one of the parts)? Use personal examples to help further define each of Freud's 3 parts of Self. Although Freud was a psychologist, his contribution to sociology is also great (the development of psychoanalysis). He considered that biological factors have great impact on personality. He developed the first detailed and clear-cut theory of personality and introduces three main structures in anatomy of personality: id, ego, and superego.

According to Freud, there are three parts of Self: Id represents the human beings basic drives (unconscious and demand immediate satisfaction) (for example, infants are unable to suppress satisfaction of their basic drives); Ego represents the human beings conscious attempts to balance between the demands and expectations of society and innate pleasure-seeking drives; Superego operation of culture within the individual in the form of internalized values and norms (Society, the Basics 2007). Superego may be examined as the individual reflection of collective conscience. Works Cited Berger, Peter. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. New York: Anchor Books, , 1963. Luckman, Thomas.

The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Anchor Books, 1966. Society, the Basics. 9 July 2007 < web >.


Free research essays on topics related to: cultural relativism, behavioral patterns, social norms, classical conditioning, nurture debate

Research essay sample on Nurture Debate Cultural Relativism

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